Where Do red squirrels build their nests?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

Red squirrels, those delightful and agile creatures, have a knack for finding cozy and secure places to build their nests. These nests, also known as dreys, are typically found 3-18 meters (10-60 feet) above the ground. They choose a variety of locations within their habitats, ensuring they have a safe and comfortable home.

One common nesting location for red squirrels is inside a natural tree cavity. These cavities are formed when a branch breaks or a tree trunk decays, creating a hollow space that serves as a perfect hideaway for these little acrobats. The squirrels cleverly utilize these pre-existing structures, making the most out of nature’s nooks and crannies.

Another desirable nesting site for red squirrels is an abandoned woodpecker nest. Woodpeckers are known for their excavation skills, creating holes in tree trunks or branches to build their own nests. Once they vacate these nests, red squirrels waste no time in claiming them as their own. It’s a win-win situation – the woodpecker gets a new home, and the squirrel gets a ready-made nest.

In some cases, red squirrels opt for an exposed nest, placing it on a branch rather than seeking the shelter of a cavity or abandoned nest. These exposed nests are usually found near the trunk on a large branch, providing stability and protection from the elements. Sometimes, you might even spot a red squirrel’s nest nestled in a witch’s-broom, which is a dense cluster of branches caused by a fungal infection or insect damage. These unique nests showcase the adaptability and resourcefulness of these fascinating creatures.

When building their nests, red squirrels rely on the materials they find in their surroundings. They gather twigs, leaves, moss, and soft materials like feathers or fur to construct a cozy and insulated home. Their construction skills are impressive, as they carefully weave and interlock these materials to create a sturdy structure that can withstand the elements.

I’ve had the pleasure of observing red squirrels in their natural habitat, and it’s always a delight to see them darting through the trees and scampering up to their nests. Their agility and ability to navigate their surroundings with ease is truly remarkable. It’s fascinating to witness the strategic choices they make when selecting a nesting site, whether it be a tree cavity, abandoned woodpecker nest, or an exposed branch.

Red squirrels are skilled architects, utilizing various nesting locations within their habitats. They make use of natural tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker nests, and even exposed branches or witch’s-brooms. Their nests are carefully constructed using a combination of twigs, leaves, moss, and other soft materials. These resourceful creatures have adapted well to their environments and continue to thrive in their chosen habitats.